Harsha Bhogle and the art of winning a battle without fighting

Fight only if you must. Sometimes, the best way to win a battle is not to fight at all.

harsha2Harsha Bhogle has been axed as commentator by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from the IPL 9 Season. As is the case with most BCCI decisions, no reasons are forthcoming. Meanwhile, the rumor mills are working overtime to suggest that any of these three – or all – reasons may be valid: BCCI being ‘deeply influenced’ by innocuous (per me) Tweets by Amitabh Bachchan and M.S.Dhoni conveying their personal opinions on how commentators must commentate; Harsha’s run-in with a Vidarbha Cricket Association official in Nagpur over a common-sensical suggestion and how Shashank Manohar, the current BCCI President, stepped in and stood up for this official; or how players have begun to influence the BCCI on who should be chosen as commentators. But when news broke out on Saturday evening, when the first match of IPL 9 was being played between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants, that Harsha will not commentate, the man in the spotlight was off to watch a movie with his wife Anita in Mumbai. All he did was he tweeted his surprise at the turn of events.

I think this is a phenomenal quality that Harsha’s got – to not fight everything and everyone that comes in your way!

Though not among my personal favorites (L.Sivaramakrishnan and Danny Morrison are), Harsha is clearly a world-class cricket commentator. He’s worked hard to follow his bliss and he, deservedly, is very, very admired. Just the outpouring of sentiment in his favor, over his axing, is evidence of how much he’s loved. Yet, the landscape in which he plies his trade is fraught with BCCI’s mafia-like ‘control’ of the game and infested with intra-organizational, political landmines. And Harsha perhaps knows this better than anyone else. Hence his choice to not lose his dignity or sanity trying to stir an already confounded situation is commendable. Undoubtedly, the public – his fans and followers of the game – is with him.

There’s a learning here for all of us. When someone queers your pitch, just walk away. You don’t have to respond to every provocation or pick up every gauntlet that’s hurled at you. Some battles are best left unfought. People react to situations based on their own insecurities, perversions or justifications. Things happen in Life because that’s the way Life is – it keeps on happening, endlessly, often mindlessly. So, if you get embroiled in trying to bulldoze your way every single time someone or something becomes an obstacle, you will only be fighting inconsequential battles all your Life. Precious personal positive energy will get drained this way. Sometimes it is better to be silent and work around a problem person or situation than wanting to decimate an obstruction. Be stingy about where your energies go. Choose the good fight – where there’s a cause, where more than just you will be benefited, where there’s an opportunity that your victory can make the world better. For any other battle, not fighting is perhaps the best way to win!

A moment lost to worry or fear or anger is a moment that’s not lived!

Living untouched by Life – by people, by events, by circumstances – around us is the key to intelligent living!

My post yesterday on learning to deal with everyday frustrations and anger elicited quite a response. One of the readers says that despite practicing ‘mouna’ – daily silence periods – worry arrives to destroy inner peace.

67f0fa23318df46bb1f49b6e454f3050I know what he means. I have once lived a horrible Life – worrying incessantly. To be able to handle worry, we must first understand Life and understand the world around us. Please don’t expect worry not to arise. Don’t wait for absence of worry to feel inner peace. Learn not to worry instead. Learn to be non-worrying – that’s true happiness! The ultimate goal and measure of success of intelligent living is not to change your external environment and make it incapable of causing you worry or making you feel fearful or angry. It is impossible to control Life or the actions of the world. But you can control your thoughts and your responses to how you are thinking. So, intelligent living is about nurturing your inner space and insulating yourself from the vagaries of the world. This is what the Bible says ‘living in the world but not of it’ and what the Bhagavad Gita says ‘of living in this world but being above it’.

To be sure, there are enough and more temptations and distractions out there. And we are not talking about materialistic objects of desire alone. Or of ruinous addictions like alcohol, tobacco or drugs either. While these are deterrents to intelligent living, most certainly, what we need to be wary of are the myriad ways in which we get dragged into banal situations on a daily basis. Think deeply about this. How often in a day do you worry about a future event __ someone’s terminal illness and impending passing, a child’s graduation, someone’s wedding or about loans to be repaid? How often in a day do you grieve over the past __ having experienced someone wrongly, an irreconcilable loss, a mistake you made or a hurt you caused someone? How often do you lose your patience or temper or both daily __ on a child or spouse or subordinate, with just someone on the street or even with yourself? Each of these episodes takes us away from living. Every time we worry about the future or fret over the past or get dragged into anger spells, every single time, we die a death. Ask yourself if worry or fear or anger has ever helped you solve any of your problems? If they have, please worry, please continue to cower in fear and please be angry. But the truth is these three emotions are a complete waste of your living time. They hold you hostage. And what’s worse is that you are allowing them to hold you hostage!

So, break free! Please don’t try to fix what’s happening around you, outside of you. Focus on how you are feeling. And go to work on making yourself remain calm and peaceful. Remember: a moment lost to worry or fear or anger is a moment that’s not lived!